This model of Cupid by Falconet was exhibited at the Salon in 1755 and the marble two years later in 1757: 130 une figure de marbre qui représente un amour. Elle appartient à Madame la marquise de Pompadour. The plaster model for innocence was exhibited in 1761. Modelled in biscuit by the Sèvres Manufactory, the two figures remained popular up until the end of the 18th century. Although the fondeur for the figures is unknown, the candelabra branches have been convincingly attributed to François Rémond by Christian Baulez.
THE ATTRIBUTION TO FRANÇOIS RÉMOND
Both Christian Baulez and Peter Hughes attribute this model to François Rémond and date it to 1785, on the basis of the twisted branches typical of the production of this ciseleur-doreur.
They could also be the result of a collaboration between several bronziers under the orders of the marchand-mercier Dominique Daguerre. It is interesting to note that a pair of candelabra of this model was sold by Daguerre at Christie's in London on 25 March 1791, lot 53.
THE STROGANOFF COLLECTIONS
The young Baron Stroganoff, immersed in Western culture and already with considerable knowledge acquired during his first European tour, made his first purchases of paintings and works of art in Italy in 1754. Immensely wealthy, he sent back to Russia, most likely in 1756, the Dubut secretaire and a suite of fauteuils by Dieudonné now in the Hermitage Museum. After his return to Russia in 1758 he had himself painted by Tocqué. In 1771 he undertook his second tour and by 1772 he was living in the rue de Richelieu, before moving in 1773 to the corner of the rue de Verneuil and the rue de Poitiers. The 1777 Almanach des artistes lists him in the fashionable rue Montmartre opposite the hôtel d'Uzès. Shortly afterwards, in 1778, he returned to Russia where he continued to buy through his agents. He would have bought this pair of candelabra around 1785 from Daguerre along with the second pair also sold in 1931 (lots 158 and 159). His exceptional collection was installed in the renovated palace in St. Petersburg which was freely open for the public to visit. In the words of one traveller: dans la maison du comte Stroganoff il n'était pas nécessaire d'être habitué des salons. Des gens que personne ne connaissait, pouvaient venir prendre un repas et repartir.
COUNT ALEXANDER STROGANOFF (1733-1811)
The son of the Baron Serge, one of the richest nobles in Russia, Alexander undertook his first grand tour in 1752 aged 19. Starting in Berlin, he passed through Frankfurt and Strasbourg before arriving with his mentor in Geneva where he studied the sciences, history and geography with the best scholars. Count Sievers wrote to the father in St. Petersburg saying, Votre fils a appris à parler couramment plusieurs langues: l'allemand, le français et l'italien, grâce à lui, j'ai pu rencontrer plusieurs savants éminents.
After travelling in Italy, they arrived in France where they stayed from 1755 to 1756. En route to Russia he learnt of the death of his father on 30th September 1756. In February 1758, he married Anna Worontzoff, daughter of Empress Elizabeth's prime minister. He was appointed special envoy to the Empress Maria-Teresa of Austria, who awarded him the title of Count of the Holy Roman Empire, which was confirmed forty years later by Tsar Paul. Following the death of his first wife, he married the young Princess Catherine Petrovna Troubetzkoy in 1771 and they left on a second tour. On seeing the beautiful Countess in Geneva, Voltaire wrote: Ah madame, quel beau jour pour moi; j'ai vu le soleil et vous. Their two children, Paul and Nathalie were born in Paris. From 1768 he was involved in establishing the St. Petersburg Academy of Arts, remaining President until 1800. As Grand Chamberlain of the court and member of the Imperial Council, Stroganoff's somewhat low-profile political career allowed him to keep his position even after the death of Catherine II. Paul I gave him responsibility for the construction of the Cathedral de Kazan. He died in 1811 seated in the middle of his gallery surrounded by the fruits of fifty years of collecting.
THE STROGANOFF PALACE
The Stroganoff palace, which stands on the Moïka quay was constructed in 1753 for Count Serge Grigoryevich Stroganoff by Rastrelli, architect of the Tsar's Winter Palace. The palace, which was renovated by Voronikhin at the end of the 18th century, had a Picture Gallery as well as a Mineral Cabinet. The palace, which was still lived in up until 1918, was emptied after the Revolution and its contents mostly sold at auction in Berlin by the Soviet Government in 1931.
Other candelabra of this model include:-
-those sold by the dealer Daguerre at Christie's, London, 25 March 1791, lot 53.
-those almost certainly supplied by Daguerre to the 1st Earl of Harewood or Edward, Viscount Lascelles for Harewood House, Hanover Square or for Harewood House, Yorkshire and now at Harewood.
-those also probably supplied by Daguerre to Orlando Bridgeman, 1st Earl of Bradford for Weston Park, Shropshire.
-those from the Beresford-Hope Collection, sold Christie's, London 12-14 May, 1886, lot 387.
-those from the Earl of Essex, Cassiobury Park, Essex, sold Christie's, London, 12 June 1922, lot 283 (differences in the branches).
-those in the M.W.B Collection, sold Paris, 29 November 1935, lot 103. -those in the Wallace Collection London (P. Hughes, The Wallace Collection, Catalogue of Furniture, London, 1996, Vol. III, no.251, F140-141).
-and a pair sold from a Distinguised Private Collection, Christie's, New York, 24 November 2009, lot 189.